Yesterday EJ, Hannah Joy, and I went to the local plant nursery, hoping they had herb plants available. The staff said that because the weather had been cold, they had delayed ordering. This seems like a huge tactical mistake to me. Number one, because we live in NORTHERN MICHIGAN, where it normally remains cold and snowy into April. In fact, I thought this last winter the weather was actually relatively mild. Also, this weekend is Mother’s Day, which I’d think would be a very busy weekend for them. Yes, they have flowers and fruit trees for sale, but there must be plenty of people like me who would prefer to buy other types of plants. But, whatever. I’m not the one in charge of the nursery. The staff said they are expecting to get their veggies and herbs in this next Thursday. We will check then. The nursery usually sells plants that the other stores don’t have–IF we can get there before they are all snatched up. I have been growing basil, sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, chamomile, borage, peppermint, spearmint, and sometimes chocolate mint. I hope to add tarragon, stevia, and savory to my herb garden this year.
Since we couldn’t get herb plants from the nursery, EJ and I drove to a local large grocery store that has a garden center. We bought a couple tomato plants, two rosemary plants, and two lavender plants. They didn’t have much else so we went on to a farm store that is just a few miles down the road to check out their packages of seeds.
As we drove, I wondered aloud if the store was still selling live poultry. Our first flock is getting older and we are starting to lose one every now and then. Getting a few young chicks every couple of years keeps our flock to the maximum number we’d like to have. EJ said that we would LOOK but NOT BUY any chicks today. We are actually considering getting a small incubator to start hatching our own eggs, which would be a lot of fun AND we could be more self-sufficient. However, the advantage to buying chicks is that we can be more certain to get mostly females (pullets). Even then, we usually end up with a rooster because determining the gender of chicks is not easy.
We discussed buying vs incubating chicks as we drove to the farm store. By the time we parked, EJ had decided it might be a good idea to buy two chicks now and get an incubator later. By the time we reached the area of the store where the chicks were, we had agreed to buy four. We took the little ones home. The chicks are too little and vulnerable to put in the coop–they need extra warmth–so EJ brought in only the bottom half of a dog kennel that is usually in the chicken pen to give the chickens a refuge to run to if they need it. He put the half-kennel in the bathtub of our master bathroom and found some mesh to put on top. We keep the bathroom door closed so the chicks will be safe from Hannah Joy and our cats, Timmy and Little Bear. When the chickens are bigger, I will put them in the fancy coop, which is inside the shed we use for the coop. This will allow the old and new chickens to get acquainted with each other. After a few days, we will then let the little ones join the older chickens.
Have you ever heard of “chicken math”? It is when we don’t intend to buy any chicks, but then decide to buy two and end up with four. Then we decide that maybe it would be better to get another two chicks in case one of the four is actually a rooster. So we go to the store to buy the three additional chicks we decided to get. But we found out that someone got there before us and bought ALL OF THE REMAINING chicks, so there are none left. But the store employee said they are expecting another shipment of chicks soon, so as soon as I find out that more chicks are available, we will zoom to the farm store and buy the four additional chicks we want. When you intended to buy no chicks and end up with eight, that is chicken math in action. Sometimes a person decides to get a couple chickens and ends up with multiple chickens, ducks, turkeys, and guinea fowl. The first time we bought chickens, we ended up with two ducks as well. But ducks are a lot of work so we got rid of them and now we just limit ourselves to chicks. Going to a farm store can be risky.
We stopped at the farm store the first time intending to buy seeds, but ended up with four chicks and no seeds–because we forgot about the seeds. On our second visit, we intended to buy four chicks and ended up with no chicks and a few packages of seeds. Hopefully, between now and when more chicks arrive, the number of chicks we plan to buy won’t have multiplied.
I chuckle that both of our bathrooms have become nurseries–one a plant nursery to start seeds and the other a chick nursery. I care for the chicks and EJ cares for the plants.
This is what rural life is like.